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Clare’s Travel Diary

Friday, 02 May 2008

Location: Bangkok!!!, Thailand

MapFinally! I get to put my location as not on the Indian Sub-continent and everything really does look different here. Well the saga of my flight or "Escape from Delhi" as it will now be known continued for some time after I wrote that last entry. Firstly the hotel got me all excited by telling me I was on the flight at 2330 instead of 0050 so I ran down to get the bus only to find they had made a little mistake and I wasn't actually. One disastrous attempt to serve me edible food later I really did get out of the Marble Mansion and back to the airport.

After going through the interminable Indian security procedures of labelling every bag, being frisked, emptying my hand luggage under the accusation that I had a knife and being dealt with by ignorant pigs for the entire time I made it to my gate where I gratefully awaited the boarding call.... for four hours, during which a small Indian boy ran up and down the marble floor screaming "ek, do, teen char", "one, two three, four" while his proud and happy parents looked on smiling indulgently at their high spirited little tyke. Having had the good luck to have a boy first in a country where female infanticide is not only common but increasing, I hope they've drawn a line under more children since his arrival. At 2.30am someone arrived to inform us that the flight was re-scheduled for 7.30am due to the pilot being ill. Crap excuse if ever I heard one. Indian style pointing, shouting and bedlam ensued while the western tourists looked on grimly. Subway arrived to hand out their left over sandwiches to us in a bid to placate us, and after the injuries sustained in the all out war to get a freebie sandwich were patched up we all started the long walk back to the security cordon.

I decided at this point, given we would have to return at 5.30am to go through the security palaver again and knowing the efficiency level of the hotel in transporting and checking in 70 or so irate travellers, I would stay at the airport and demand the use of the First Class Lounge. This after all being the 2nd flight in 24 hours Air India had not managed to get me on, it was the least they could do. Obviously this scenario wasn't in Air Steward training 101 and I was forced to have a few blunt conversations with the non-entities Air India call 'staff' to swing this little number - but half an hour later I was stretched out on the sofa with my sleeping bag while the others sat downstairs waiting for the bus.

2.5 short hrs later I was woken with a coffee and some scowls from the 'real' First Class travellers who obviously disapproved of my sleeping bag and 'traveller' attire. Amazingly my time in India or perhaps at the meditation centre must have instilled some peace and reconciliation in me because even when my hand luggage was searched AGAIN - this time under the pretence of there being a cigarette lighter in there - I maintained my cool and apart from a few withering comments to the guards was in a pretty good mood.

We finally took off 46 hours after I should have originally left India on a plane with seats which did not recline, and had no TV or Radio system. Frankly I was just glad to make my escape - Good Bye India, thank you very much.

So I write this from lovely Bangkok which looks like a city ought to and my hotel has a small pool! I am flying to Laos on Sunday so only have tomorrow to cram in some temples and I am now off to the Khao San Rd to get a well earned beer. Here I am South East Asia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!